Why all the updates?

I’m sure that you have noticed a steady stream of updates to my free utilities over the last couple of weeks. This isn’t because they’re falling apart, but I’m getting ready for the first beta-release of macOS 10.15 in early June.

I’ll discuss elsewhere what I expect 10.15 to bring, but I hope that almost all the current versions of my apps will be fully compatible with it even when it is fully released in the autumn/fall. All those which run on Mojave are notarized (and have been since last year), 64-bit only, and have been built with a recent version of Xcode against the Mojave SDK.

However, there’s usually a bit more to maintaining full compatibility. My preparations involve ensuring that each of my apps has been ported to Swift version 5 and built with the current version of Xcode. There are also some important new features which I am building into them for the future. One is a direct link, from the Help menu, to a proper product page which extends the help and support information, and gives you ready access to a dedicated support page where you can post comments concerning any issues you experience.

Getting feedback on apps is never easy. I suspect a few people download them, try them out, decide they can’t grok them immediately or don’t like their look, and trash them almost immediately. When you haven’t paid for the app, you’ve lost nothing, I suppose.

I’d like to think that those who decide one of my apps isn’t right would at least explain their disappointment. Sometimes just a little guidance or a glance through the documentation makes a very big difference. If you can take a few moments to tell me what was wrong on the product’s support page, that is extremely helpful. You never know, I may be able to fix the issue for you.

Please use the product support pages: their links appear on each of the main product pages, which you can open direct from the Help menu now.

Another new feature which I’m progressively introducing is each app checking its own integrity against its signature, every time that it is opened. The delay introduced by this is negligible, but it protects you not only against malware but inadvertent corruption of the app. A few times users have battled with trying to get a corrupt download to work. This mechanism should ensure that, if the app has become corrupted somehow, then it won’t try to run beyond the first fraction of a second. You’ll then know to replace it with a fresh copy.

This gets more important as we reach the time of year when some of us will be running beta-releases of the next major version of macOS. Although it’s unusual for them to corrupt files, it can happen, and third-party apps like mine aren’t protected from that by SIP.

I hope that the combination of notarization and integrity checking will give you additional confidence when running my utilities in the future.

Finally, I am taking the opportunity to tidy up those tiddly bits that often get left behind. In some cases, this means providing them with proper Help books and other documentation, and bringing some from beta to full release. I hope that you find this useful, and each app a worthy improvement, which continues to run even after you’ve upgraded to macOS 10.15 later in the year. We’ll see!